The Story Behind the Song — Aw Funk It! by Allen Weber on the Hot Shock Album
I always liked the humor Oz Noy has in his playing. I needed to have one last song to complete the Hot Shock album. And since at one time earlier in my career I was playing with a funk horn band… I thought it would be fun to write something like this.
I tried to capture humor in the song, the title seemed like something Oz Noy would use. the title came first. Before I started writing the song — which is really unusual for me.
Title and Lyrics First
Typically I start writing the music first, then try and figure out a title.
While writing this song, right afte the title, I came up with the lyrics. I thought it would be good to call out some respect to funkers I like
Unfortunately, there was not enough time to mention them all. I had a list of about 40 names! So I had to cut down. I apologize to those I did not mention.
I again used kind of a Frankenstein writing technique to write Aw Funk It!. Just write a bunch of parts and then piece them together so they flow.
So I reached back, and brought out some funk riffs to create something different.
Something that particularly amused me in the past was when I would play the John McLaughlin / Mahavishnu Orchastra song Dance of Maya for friends. It had a bluesy part they solo’d over. But it dropped a beat. The only way you could count it and stay on beat was to count it or feel it in double time… 1 and 2 ; instead of 1,2 etc.
That look of confusion when people got lost and were wondering what hppened ws priceless. I had to incorporate it into this song. Especially with the name Aw Funk It!
So there is a line the band plays. At first I was playing it in unison with the bass and keyboards. But that was boring…
So I started playing 9th chords in a syncopated rhythm up at the high G position.
After a few cycles, I would go back to the unison part, with keys and bass.
Then I got the idea that I shold be playing it in harmony, and we could use that for a cue!
So I recorded the part on my Zoon H4n, and played it back trying various harmonies.
On one of them, I was not paying attention and I ended up playing it in a weird position. It sounded dissonant but still in tune and really cool… at least to me
I’m the writer of the song, so WTF? Might as well amuse myself, and hopefully others will enjoy it!
So that is how the weird harmony came in before the break.
Once I had the melody lines down, it was time to figure out the best chords that would give the feel I wanted to the song.
I needed chords that sounded good, contrasting with, yet supporting the melody.
I wanted something different for the solos. And I decided that it would be just a guitar solo.
It was based on a past experience
Past Performance Experience
So going waaaaaay back in time. A friend of mine had a band that was playing clubs in CHicago. I worked with him on and off.
At the time his guitarist just quit with no notice, he had gigs booked and needed someone who could step in immediately.
So he called me. With absolutely ZERO rehearsal, I showed up. Before each song, the keyboard player would call out the changes to me, and then we would go.
So there we wre playing a really funky tune. I was getting into it, and suddenly he yells “Guitar Solo!” at the same time everyone except for the drummer dropped out.
No bass, no keys, no horns, no nothing! Just guitar and drums.
Keep on Keeping On
So I just kept up the funky chord rhythm I was playing, and then started adding in some single note riffs. It got the audience really going, and the band (including 4 singers) were all smiling. That stuck with me.
And Aw Funk It! gave me the chance to resurrect that moment in time.
I wanted an over-produced artificial ending that I thought was funny.
So after we recorded the ending in the studio, during the mixing and mastering phases, I asked Andrew the Engineer who was doing the mixing and mastering if he could speed up the ending so it would be like Alvin and the Chipmunks.
He did it. We listened, and started laughing. At that point I knew the ending was a keeper!
I’m positive you will love the song, with the ending too!
Why not check it out?
You Can Get Your Copy the digital track of Aw Funk It! at:
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cdBaby: Aw Funk It! MP3, MP3-320, and FLAC files
Or at TheJazzBox.ca Aw Funk It! The highest quality mp3 format (320 kbps) MP3
And if you are so inclined, you can find Aw Funk It! listed under Allen Weber Hot Shock at iTunes, Spotify, Last.fm and a host of other sites. If you have a favorite site for buying music, please let us know so we can get the material listed there too.
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